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Microsoft's Featured VHDs

, posted: 7-Nov-2006 07:45

Seeing that both Virtual Machine software companies (Microsoft and VMWare) are battling out at each other and even went as far as "freeing" their Virtual Machine software (Virtual PC 2004, Virtual Server 2005 R2, VMPlayer etc) to kick start the virtualisation appliances/usage. I used to use VMWare up to v4.5 and then tried Virtual PC 2004 as beta, and now it's free. Also when the Virtual Server 2005 R2 was unleashed as free product, I don't hesistate a fraction of a second to grab it and try it out (... fearing that it may be a slip-up or a "teaser" which may later someone inside Microsoft discovered and patch up the loophole, fortunately it didn't happen that way! *phew*). Anyway, back to the story at hand. I have seen VMWare did something like this few months back and honestly, I couldn't really think of how to make use of its Virtual Appliances, so haven't really dwelve into it. Today, seeing that Microsoft is doing the similar thing with their Featured VHDs which include Windows Server 2003 R2, MS Exchange 2007, MS ISA 2006 and MS SQL 2005 Enterprise Edition. All which are what I'm currently looking, namely Windows Server 2005 R2 and MS Exchange 2007 to run my home wee-Exchange server. However, what caught my curious and cautious attention are these questions;
  • "Are these VHDs easy to configure to see if they suit the environment that one may be running?"
  • "What's stopping someone from running it fulltime as the operational servers/services?"
  • "Is there a time-limit on how long these VHDs can be run?"
  • "What is/are the CALs limitation?" and lastly
  • "What's the catch?"
IF above questions are genuine and favouring the trial consumers (and cheapskate like me), then one can effectively running a good server environment with "cheap" softwares! Imagine, you spend good money on a real grunty system, which comes with Windows XP Professional, deck it out with lots of ram and real fast hard drives (SCSI or SATA-II) and install the free Virtual Server 2005 R2, and download these VHDs and configure them to "see" each other and boom! There you go a virtual domain server and exchange server... Alright, may not be that perfect compare to real servers, however, if you're running for home or real simple network, I don't see why this may not be possible. It will work... IF the questions I had above are favouring towards cheapskate like me. hehe!





More information

Other related posts:
Telecom XT Pricing Plans Announced
Vista virtualisation ban lifted
64-bit Windows support in Boot Camp








Comment by BigFella, on 7-Nov-2006 10:07

I can answer one of your questions:
"This fully functional pre-configured VHD provides you a trial software will automatically expire after 30 days."


Author's note by chiefie, on 7-Nov-2006 11:59

Cheers BigFella, I tried searching on Microsoft's website and could not find any... Well 30-days should be enough for most to try out before plunging into it. I know I'd be keen to test a domain setup for home but I don't want to put the money in to get the softwares and later not able to put them all together to function. This way, it will give a good tryout. Kudos to Microsoft. Although, they could use the 180-days evaluation version rather than 30-days. Or even offer the in-place purchase/upgrade with proper product keys.


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